Speechly gets funding for building spoken language understanding APIs for next-generation voice killer apps
Dec 19, 2019 - Helsinki, Finland
Speechly, a Helsinki based spoken language understanding company, secures funding from top international investors for building developer tools for next generation voice user interfaces. The company raised 2M€ in a seed round led by Berlin’s Cherry Ventures, with participation from Seedcamp as well as Quantum Angels, Joyance Partners, Social Starts, Tiny.vc, Juha Paananen and Nicolas Dessaigne.
A Helsinki based spoken language understanding company, secures funding from top international investors for building developer tools for next generation voice user interfaces. The company raised 2M€ in a seed round led by Berlin’s Cherry Ventures, with participation from Seedcamp as well as Quantum Angels, Joyance Partners, Social Starts, Tiny.vc, Juha Paananen and Nicolas Dessaigne.
Speechly’s technology enables developers to break out from the naive voice assistant use cases into building more sophisticated, real-time and multimodal, voice enabled user experiences. The technology works on any platform or operating system. The funding will be used to develop the tool further and to release the public APIs.
The fundamental problem of voice assistant platforms is that they tend to fail with more complex user requests. Moreover, they don’t integrate to familiar apps and UIs. From the commercial point of view voice assistant platforms force businesses to operate in someone else’s ecosystem and give out valuable user data. Most importantly, current SDKs and APIs are either too complex or do not offer enough control over end user experience for developers.
“Speechly’s technology can be the Twilio for voice UIs and change the way developers use and think about voice in the future”, says Filip Dames, partner at Cherry Ventures.
Speechly makes spoken language understanding available for the 99% of developers who are not Natural Language Understanding (NLU) experts with easy-to-use SDKs and APIs. “Speechly offers developers the ability to easily build delightful voice user experiences that integrate well with their products and brands. We believe our technology will bring voice the same kind of renaissance as the iPhone brought for touch in 2007”, says Hannes Heikinheimo, the CTO of Speechly.
The secret sauce in Speechly’s spoken language understanding technology is in how the mechanics of natural language understanding and speech recognition work together. This enables Speechly to deliver a faster and more intuitive multimodal voice user experience. “We have designed our own proprietary speech recognition technology from the ground up to support a significantly wider range of voice related user experiences compared to existing products out there”, Hannes Heikinheimo explains.
Speechly’s technology is already being used in e-commerce, virtual reality, media, healthcare, industrial services etc. and can be applied to any industry or platform.
“It is hard, but not impossible to compete against the likes of Google, Amazon and Apple. But our approach to voice UIs is different. We don’t need to monetize our customers’ data or tie developers into our ecosystem”, says Otto Söderlund, the CEO of Speechly.
CB Insight estimates voice recognition space market value to reach 49$ Billion by 2024. "Voice will increasing play a critical role in our day-to-day activities, and with Speechly’s technology, we'll we able to link voice interactions with visual cues for faster user interface interactions.”, says Carlos Espinal, Managing Partner of Seedcamp, one of the investors.
Speechly (originally Speechgrinder) is a Helsinki, Finland based company building developer APIs for next generation voice UIs. It’s a growing team of a dozen speech scientists, NLU engineers, senior developers and growth hackers. The team has previous working experience in building products like Siri & Alexa. www.speechly.com
About Cherry Ventures
Cherry Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund founded and led by former entrepreneurs and focusing on seed-stage companies in B2B and B2C. Having started as angel fund, Cherry today manages three funds investing tickets between €500k-4M in the seed stage.
Cherry’s founders have been involved in Zalando, Quandoo and Groupon and the fund has previously been among the first backers of Auto1, Flixbus, Flaschenpost, Dash Dash, Rekki, AMBOSS and many others. Cherry aims at supporting its portfolio companies in the best possible way through the entrepreneurial expertise in the team. Based in Berlin, Cherry invests all across Europe. www.cherry.vc
Seedcamp is Europe's seed fund, identifying and investing early in world-class founders attacking large, global markets and solving real problems using technology. The Seedcamp Nation includes over 330 startups building breakout businesses that change the way people live, interact and buy and includes three European unicorns: TransferWise, Revolut and UiPath along with fast-growing businesses such as wefox, Pointy, Viz.ai and Trussle. nior developers and growth hackers. The team has previous working experience inbuilding products like Siri & Alexa.